Monday, June 17, 2013

The Sun: Friend or Foe?

Why That Golden Globe Hurts So Good

During that brief moment when experts seemed to be suggesting it was perfectly fine to skip the SPF in the name of scoring a healthy amount of vitamin D, many people reveled in the return of their greatest and guiltiest pleasure: a day in the sun. Sure, part of it was about the pure joy of soaking up those rays. But another part of it was about the way a tan makes you feel: younger, slimmer, and sexier.

That sense of well-being isn't your imagination. There are plenty of health benefits to being outdoors. Research suggests the sun have both psychological and physical benefits, improving skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema, combating depression and anxiety, improving sleep quality, boosting immunity, and even enhancing blood circulation. So is it really possible to spend an afternoon at th ebach without feeling like you're committing a crime? As long as you're protected. Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30, a protective hat, and try to avoid the sun at midday when rays are at their strongest.

Many of us still aren't serious enough about sun safety. At least that's the finding of a Harris Interactive survey of almost 2,400 adults. Though nearly half reported becoming more vigilant about using sunscreen in the past 5 years, only a paltry 300 respondents said they apply it daily--a dangerously low number, considering we get the bulk of our sun exposure while running errands or driving our cars and not while at the beach. This cumulative exposure has been linked to the development of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Obviously, there's a lot to know about sun protection. What you don't know can hurt you and your family.

Source: Men's Health

Thursday, June 13, 2013

8 Deadly Chemicals In Your Beauty Products

We're far from powdering our faces with lead-based powder and painting our lips with mercuric sulfide like we did in the Victorian Era, but how much safer are today's beauty products? Today, beauty products are more like chemistry experiments. They're loaded with chemicals that have no business being on — or in — our bodies. 

Aside from labeling requirements, regulation over the beauty industry is minimal at best. Currently, there is no federal law that requires companies to test personal care products for safety prior to marketing them to the public. This lack of regard for public safety means that just about anything is ending up in your facial cream. It is up to us, as consumers, to make informed decisions about what goes on our skin, in our hair, and into our bodies. In this article I'll list some of the most problematic toxins found in everyday, conventional beauty products.

1. Parabens

Parabens are synthetic preservatives. They're found in shampoos, conditioners, styling products, soaps, body washes, lotions, shaving creams and gels, makeup, and toothpaste. Whew!

The cosmetic industry strongly believes that parabens are safe. On the contrary, studies have shown that they're linked to many acute and chronic health problems. Some of these health problems are: allergies, skin toxicity, biochemical changes in the body, developmental and reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption, tissue irradiation and organ toxicity, and cancer. Furthermore, parabens can be hazardous to the environment.

Labeled as:
  • Paraben
  • Butylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
2. Phthalates (Fragrance)

Phthalates are used to soften plastic. They're in adhesives, building materials, films, pesticides and perfumes. Perfumes and colognes, hair care products, hair color, deodorants — virtually all conventional beauty products — contain phthalates. They're typically used as solvents and to make fragrances last longer, and they may be disguised on the label as “fragrance.” Very sneaky! In both humans and animals, phthalates are linked to bioaccumulation, which means they become trapped in the body FOREVER. Other potential health problems include: cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, birth defects, neurotoxicity and neurological disorders. Not only are phthalates toxic to the body, they're hazardous to the environment.

3. Sulfates

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are inexpensive chemicals used to create lather. Sulfates will be found in anything that lathers. That’s right — you're being exposed to a toxin just so you can have bubbles in your soap. Stripping the skin of its natural oils, these chemicals can make it feel as dry as leather that's been left in the sun for far too long. Sulfates also increase penetration of the skin’s surface, thus, allowing even more toxins to easily enter the body. 

4. Ethylenedimine and Tetraacetic Acid (EDTA)

EDTA is used as a stabilizer. That's a nifty trick, but it also means that EDTA is very stable itself and doesn't biodegrade even in water treatment plants. EDTA’s chelating, or binding, effect can cause all kinds of problems in our waterways because it can remobilize heavy metal sediments and have environmental effects. It's linked with skin irritations, allergies, contact dermatitis, reproductive and fetal effects, and kidney damage. YIKES!

5. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is the carcinogenic chemical present in most embalming fluids — fluids used to temporarily preserve dead bodies. It's also found in most beauty products. Ew. More than likely it won't be found on the product label. There are even some preservatives that are capable of releasing formaldehyde. Preservatives can be exposed to formaldehyde during processing, or they can be part of a chemical reaction that, in turn, produces this nasty substance. 

The most common formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are:
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Dimethyl-dimethyl hydantoin
  • Quaternium-15
  • Bronopol
6. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is one efficient multitasker! Not only does it work to maintain moisture in the skin, it's a key ingredient in embalming and brake fluids, and it's used as a solvent in the plastics industry. Propylene glycol is also known as antifreeze, a de-icing solution for roads, planes, cars and boats. Exposure may have a negative effect on cell growth; it's been linked to skin allergies, and it can cause permanent damage to the surface of the skin. It's safe to say that propylene glycol is not the best solution for skin care. Skin creams are supposed to improve the condition of your skin, not damage it! 

7. Toluene

Toluene is an additive used as a solvent in nail polish and some hair coloring products. An unnerving characteristic of toluene is its deceptively sweet smell. This chemical is considered a volatile organic compound (VOC), and it has the potential to cause various health problems. Severe irritation to eyes, lungs, and skin, damage to the central nervous system (CNS), kidney and liver damage, developmental and birth defects are all health problems known to be associated with toluene exposure.

8. Talc

Talc is the primary ingredient in baby powder. It can be found in deodorants, cosmetics and sunscreens. This commonly used substance is seemingly harmless; however, it's often contaminated by asbestos — a known carcinogen. Talc by itself is also believed to be linked to cancer.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lautner Abs: Swiss Ball Pikes

Swiss Ball Pikes
Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight (your hands should be slightly wider than, and in line with, your shoulders). Rest your shins on a Swiss ball so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your ankles. Without bending your knees, roll the Swiss ball toward your body by raising your hips as high as you can. Pause, then return the ball to the starting position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backward. Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Source: Men's Health

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Fitness Model... and a Diabetic

John Angelesco is a part-time model living with Type 1 Diabetes. Double majoring in Civil Engineering Technology and Construction Management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he still has time for mud runs. With nutrition and exercise constantly being a concern for people with unstable insulin levels, I jumped at the opportunity to get his perspective and any advice to others struggling with the same issue.

 "My exercise plan consists of a 5 or 6 day workout routine for about 2-3 hours. Usually comprising of 3 days on and 1 day off. What I do in the gym everyday is a rotation of muscle group training. That is (1) Back & Biceps, (2) Chest & Triceps, (3) Shoulders, and (4) Legs. Along with that, I do shorter abdominal exercises for around 20-30 minutes, then some type of cardio exercise burning 200 calories.

From a diabetic standpoint, before going to the gym I always make sure I eat any type of breakfast. I would eat enough so I wont feel empty stomached, but not too much to feel bloated. I bring a couple Gatorades every time to make sure I have something to drink if/when my blood sugar goes low. Also make sure I have enough strips and lancets in my meter and insulin in my pump to get me through my time at the gym. Next it depends on whether you take any muscle supplements (pre or intra workout) because some contain carbohydrates. For instance, I recently took an intra workout that contained 40g of carbohydrate in each serving, so before my workout I checked my blood and put in 40g to cover for carbohydrates. Same situation goes for your post workout protein if any contain carbohydrates or not.

When working out, I bring my meter with me to my workout area where I do free weight exercises, then to each machine I use. I usually check about 5 times average. Which are (1) at the beginning, (2) mid weight workout, (3) post weight workout, (4) pre cardio, (5) post cardio. Then of course, if I feel like my blood sugar is low or high I check more. When low I would feel shaky, sweating more than usual, and weak. When high, I usually feel more lethargic, sleepy eye feeling, and have to go to the bathroom.

 For my meals/snacks, I eat all foods that are healthy for you. I eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, then other things like peanut butter crackers and granola bars. Vegetables and chicken are popular dinners of mine that I frequently eat. Also some lunches I make are turkey clubs on whole wheat bread for healthy sandwiches. Leading up to bedtime, for snacks its good to eat peanut butter because it’s a good stabilizer for the blood sugar. So I would eat a banana or apple and slab some peanut butter on it for each bite. Then every night I drink my casein protein shake, which helps muscle recovery/growth for the slow acting proteins."

 There you have it. John recently created a modeling page on Facebook. Check him out, LIKE and SHARE!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Stay In The Game

Control Inflammation
Supplement: Bromelain
Daily amount: 120 milligrams (mg)

"It's almost like putting a chemical cold pack on a bruise or sprain," says Chris Foley, M.D., a professor at the University of Minnesota college of pharmacy. Extremely safe and inexpensive, bromelain has been shown to reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain following physical injuries. A 2002 British study found that it relieved mild knee pain as well.

Shore Up Weak Tissue
Supplement: Glucosamine sulfate
Daily amount: 1,500 mg

Think of it as adding cement to a creaky foundation, says David Grotto, R.D., director of nutrition at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care. Glucosamine creates polymers called glucosaminal glycans (GAG) that build and strengthen the tissues, preventing tears. Try pairing it with chondroitin, which promotes GAG formation and inhibits degradation enzymes in connective tissue.

Source: Men's Health

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